Date: 1st October 2009 at 9:10pm
Written by:

Next season it will be 125 years since Millwall Football Club was founded.
Over 52 weeks or so we will have a season by season account of that first century and a quarter.

Included in this, are extracts from Eddie Tarrant`s ‘Diary of Millwall`, James Murray`s ‘Lions of the South` and Richard Lindsay`s ‘Millwall, a complete record`.


In the summer of 1885 a group workers in a preserve & canning factory, J.T.Morton`s, in West Ferry Road on the Isle of Dog`s were convinced that they could form a football team to take on other local clubs, so Millwall Rovers were born.
As most of the team was made up from workers of Scottish desent they adopted their country`s colours of blue and white. The Rovers home pitch was at Glengall Road (now Tiler Road) and The Islanders Public House, 5 Tooke Street, was chosen as the clubs first head quarters.

Season 1885/86

Manager F.B. Kidd

Saturday 3rd October 1885 and Millwall Rovers, led out by skipper Duncan Hean, play their first match, away to Fillebrook at Leytonstone a game which they lost 5-0, however they learnt from this early defeat and a 1-1 draw in their next away fixture was followed by a victory in their maiden home fixture against Old St Lukes on 24th October 1885. They went on their next 14 games unbeaten before they suffered their second defeat, 4-0, at the hands of the top East London side Old St. Paul`s. They ended the season with a record of played 24 matches, won 17, drew 3, lost 4, scoring 45 and conceding 28, a remarkable record for a club in it`s first season, with more than 2,000 residents of the Isle of Dogs turning up to watch their final home match of the season.

Season 1886/87

Manager F.B. Kidd

After just one season The Rovers moved to a new enclosed ground, where they could charge gate money. The Lord Nelson Public House on the south side of the Island was chosen. Their main games were still friendlies, but as they had joined the London Football Association, they, along with 48 other teams, had entered the London Senior Cup. Unfortunatly their first competitive match away at City Ramblers, from Leyton, on 16th October 1886 ended in a 5-4 defeat. The Rovers picked themselves up from this and went on to win their first piece of silverware drawing the final of the East End Senior Cup with London Caledonians 0-0, and 2-2 after a replay, and thus being declared joint holders. In October they recorded a fine win over Hendon Rovers at home 7-0, but lost the return 2-4 mainly due to the fact that they only had 8 players that turned up for the game. Also in April they played two games in one day, both at home, the first being a 0-0 draw with Dreadnought in the morning, and the second a 4-1 win over Westminster Swifts in the afternoon.
The Rovers played a total of 26 friendly matches this season, winning 16, drawing 4 and losing 6 with 69 goals for and 36 against.

Season 1887/88

Manager F.B. Kidd

Millwall Rovers entered the FA Cup for the first time and received a walkover for their first game as Casuals withdrew. So on 5th November 1887 Millwall played their first ever F.A.Cup tie, unfortunately they were to go out losing 8-1 to an Old Westminster which included three England internationals. However they did go on to retain the East End Senior Cup that they had won the previous season by beating Woodford 3-1 at Chobham Farm in the Final and for the first time ever, Millwall players held a cup as outright winners. During an away match against Fulham St. Andrew`s, whilst losing 2-1 the match was abandoned at half time as all three available balls had burst.
The Rovers played three friendly fixtures against Royal Arsenal this season winning 3-0, losing by the same score, and a 3-3 draw at Plumstead.
Of the 27 friendly games played 18 were won, 3 drawn and 6 lost.

Part Two Coming Soon